Preparing for the GMAT in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

So, you’re considering applying for business school and taking the GMAT. What exactly is the GMAT, and why must you take it?

Whether you’ve just started thinking about the GMAT or have just begun studying for it, we’ve got you covered!

What Is the GMAT?
Who Needs to Take the GMAT?
The GMAT Format: What to Expect
How Difficult Is the GMAT?
New Updates to the GMAT in 2023
Score Preview
How do you Register for the GMAT in Singapore?
Tips
Common Questions

What Is the GMAT?

Short for the “Graduate Management Admission Test”, the GMAT is a standardised exam used by most business schools to assess applicants for their MBA and other business master’s degree programs. The GMAT measures your verbal, mathematical, analytical writing, and critical reasoning skills, which are vital for success in these programmes and, subsequently, a business career.

The GMAT constantly changes, so keep updated to see if the changes impact you! For example, the current test format will be replaced during late 2023 by the shorter GMAT Focus Edition (more about it below).

Who Needs to Take the GMAT?

The GMAT exam is used by over 7,000 graduate business and management programs worldwide to help evaluate applicants for admission. Anyone looking to pursue an MBA, Master of Accountancy, or Master of Finance needs to take the GMAT. This includes recent university graduates, mid-career professionals looking to advance into leadership roles, and career switchers transitioning into business.

The GMAT Format: What to Expect

The GMAT Exam Sections

The GMAT has four sections: Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal and Quant sections are computer-adaptive, meaning the difficulty level of questions adjusts based on your performance. The total time for the exam is 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Verbal Section

The Verbal section has 36 multiple-choice questions testing your reading comprehension and critical reasoning skills. You’ll have 65 minutes to complete this section. Questions include:

  • Reading comprehension: Read a short passage and answer questions about facts, inferences, main ideas, and the author’s tone or purpose.
  • Critical reasoning: Analyse short arguments and answer questions about assumptions, conclusions, and the logic of the reasoning. Look for logical flaws and weaknesses.
  • Sentence correction: Choose the option that best expresses an idea or relationship based on grammar, word choice, and sentence structure.

Quantitative Section

The Quant section has 31 multiple-choice questions covering arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, and word problems. You have 62 minutes for this section. Questions test:

  • Arithmetic: Calculate percentages, ratios, rates, powers, square roots, and simple interest.
  • Algebra: Solve linear and quadratic equations, factor expressions, and manipulate inequalities.
  • Geometry: Calculate angles, circumferences, areas of shapes like circles, triangles, and quadrilaterals.
  • Statistics: Interpret charts, graphs, and data to calculate measures of centre and spread. Calculate probabilities and combinations.
  • Word problems: Translate real-world scenarios into mathematical expressions and solve.

The GMAT does not allow a calculator for the Quantitative section, so bring your A-game in mental math and estimation.

Integrated Reasoning Section

This section has 12 questions covering Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis. You have 30 minutes for this section, and there may be multiple responses to a question. There is no partial credit, and this section does not contribute to your overall GMAT score.

This section allows the use of an online calculator!

Analytical Writing Assessment

You have 30 minutes for this section. This section does not contribute to your overall GMAT score. To complete this section, test takers to critically analyse the given information and develop a coherent response to the given issue or argument. This requires you to evaluate the argument’s logical soundness and support your analysis with evidence and examples.

How Difficult Is the GMAT?

The GMAT is designed to be challenging, but how difficult is it? The short answer: very. The GMAT assesses analytical and logical reasoning skills essential for business and management programs. To accomplish this, the exam includes some complex questions that require strong critical thinking.

Format and Scoring

The GMAT has four sections: two multiple-choice sections, including logical reasoning and reading comprehension, an essay writing portion, and an integrated reasoning section with innovative question types. You will receive a score between 200 to 800 for the multiple-choice sections. The essay and integrated reasoning sections are scored separately on a scale of 1 to 6 and 1 to 8, respectively.

GMAT Scoring and Percentiles

When it comes to the GMAT, your score and percentile ranking matter. These determine your chances of getting into your target business schools. So make sure you understand how the GMAT is scored and know where you stand.

Scaled Scores

Your raw score for the multiple-choice sections is converted to a scaled score between 0 to 60. The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored on a scale of 0 to 6. The total scaled score ranges from 200 to 800, combining the scores of the Verbal and Quantitative sections.

Percentiles

The higher your percentile, the better your score! Top schools usually look for applicants above the 70th or 80th percentile. You can check the latest GMAT percentile rankings on mba.com to see where you stand! Usually, most top schools want to see 650 or above.

Here are a few examples, featuring business schools in Singapore!

School/ProgrammeMinimum Score
NTU MBA>600
NUS MBA>600*

*NUS mentions that 670 is the average score for the full-time MBA

 

New Updates to the GMAT in 2023

As mentioned, the GMAT Focus Edition will replace the current format soon during Q4! Registration for this edition commences in August, and here are the differences:

  • Shorter length at 2 hours and 25 minutes (each section is now 45 minutes long)
  • Completely multiple-choice: the essay section has been removed
  • All sections count towards the total score
  • There is a new Question Review & Edit feature
  • Test takers can fully customise the section order
  • Test takers now have access to an improved “Official Score Report”, which had to be separately purchased

Score Preview

After completing the exam, you can view your unofficial GMAT scores before deciding (within 72 hours) whether you wish to submit them to schools. This allows you to cancel your scores if you feel you underperformed. However, you only get one chance to do so per exam period.

The Focus Edition will allow you to send your score, after you know it, to 5 schools for free.

How do you Register for the GMAT in Singapore?

First, you’ll need to register for the GMAT on the official website, mba.com. You can schedule your exam up to two years in advance at any of Singapore’s Pearson VUE test centres.

Choose a test date, time, and location that suits your schedule. You can also take it online!

Tips

Study the Exam Format Thoroughly

Make sure you understand the GMAT exam format inside and out. Know the number of questions and time limits for each section. Be very familiar with the types of questions asked for the quantitative and verbal sections. Learn effective strategies for pacing yourself to complete each section on time. The more you know about what to expect, the more at ease you’ll feel on exam day.

Focus Your Preparation

Concentrate your preparation on the areas you need to strengthen and the question types you struggle with. For example, if reading comprehension is a weakness, spend extra time practising those kinds of questions. If data sufficiency problems trip you up, focus on developing a strategic approach for solving them.

Take Official Practice Tests

The GMAT website offers two free official practice tests, and many other sites offer their free versions too. Take both tests a few weeks before your actual exam date to gauge how much you’ve improved and which areas still need work. The real GMAT questions and format will also help familiarise you with the full exam experience. Review the results of your practice tests thoroughly, especially questions you missed.

Learn Effective Strategies

Develop strategic approaches for each question type, like eliminating incorrect answers for critical reasoning or “backsolving” for problem-solving questions. Apply strategies like guessing logically and avoiding “trap” answers. Brush up on practical techniques like estimating, substituting values, and working backwards from the answer choices.

Stay Healthy and Rested

Get plenty of rest the night before, stay hydrated and eat a good breakfast! Why not get some exercise in, too? Staying in top shape will help you achieve your best possible score.

FAQs About the GMAT Exam in Singapore

Common Questions

Do GMAT scores expire?

GMAT scores are valid for five years. Some schools may consider scores up to 7 years old, but generally, the closer your GMAT date is to your application, the better.

Can I reschedule or cancel my GMAT appointment?

You can reschedule or cancel your GMAT appointment up to 7 days before your scheduled date (for a fee). Appointments cancelled within seven days of the test date will forfeit the entire test fee. If there is an unforeseen emergency within the 7-day window, you can contact GMAT Customer Service to request an exception to the cancellation policy (case-by-case basis).

So there you have it, everything you need to know about preparing for the GMAT in Singapore. We wish you good luck!

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